Afghanistan 'Cornwalled' once again as Shamarh Brooks' ton sets Windies on victory path

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10 wickets in the match for big Cornwall. Image credit - Windies/Twitter.

Afghanistan’s two-game winning run in Test cricket looks to be coming to an end with Rashid Khan’s men staring at a defeat in the one-off clash against West Indies in Lucknow.

In a frantic Day Two at the Ekana International Stadium, Shamarh Brooks maiden Test century turned out to be the difference maker and it helped Windies take a vital first-innings lead of 90 runs.

By the time stumps were drawn in Lucknow, the Afghans had been reduced to 109-7 in their second innings, with their overall lead standing at a paltry 19 runs.

Brooks’ superb ton is where we lead off from in our talking points, and there were plenty of them on an eventful day.

Brooks stands tall in the face of pressure

Afghanistan didn’t bowl badly at all on the second day but they ran into a wall named Shamarh Brooks. Playing in only his third Test, the 31-year-old displayed excellent application on a turning pitch to keep Afghanistan’s array of spin bowlers at bay.

By reducing West Indies to 150-5, the Afghans had given themselves a fighting chance of storming back into the game though Brooks had other ideas. The right-hander forged a dogged partnership of 74 runs along with Shane Dowrich, and that sixth-wicket stand was instrumental in the Caribbean side gaining the decisive advantage.

Dowrich’s resistance was ended on 41 by Zahir Khan but Brooks continued to soldier on before bringing up a well-deserved Test hundred in the company of the Windies tail.

His innings was the difference in helping turn Windies first-innings lead from a meagre one to a substantial one.

Debutant Hamza carves a name for himself

On a day where they didn’t have much to celebrate about, Amir Hamza provided a bright spark for Afghanistan with an excellent bowling display. Making his Test debut, the left-armed orthodox spinner became only the second Afghan bowler after skipper Rashid Khan to pick up a five-for in the format.

Four of his five wickets came in the second day and it was he who ultimately accounted for centurion Brooks. The 28-year-old made good use of the conditions on offer and displayed plenty of variations with his left-armed spin to bag a five-wicket haul on debut.

His control was also great and he easily outshone his fellow spinners in Rashid and Zahar Khan in the 29 overs he bowled.

Afghans ‘Cornwalled’ again as Chase extinguishes last hope

Faced with a 90-run deficit, Afghanistan’s second innings started off on a promising note with openers Ibrahim Zadran and Javed Ahmadi putting on a half-century stand. However, just when it looked like the Afghans would overturn the lead without losing a wicket, Rahkeem Cornwall returned to haunt them once again.

The big Windies off-spinner’s introduction induced a dramatic collapse from the hosts who were soon reduced to 59-4. Three of those wickets fell to Cornwall’s off-spin with the Windies man bringing up a 10-wicket match haul in the process.

Ahmadi continued to wage a one-man battle at the other end with the opener registering a fine fifty, but that flame was soon extinguished for Afghanistan once Roston Chase got into the act.

The fellow off-spinner followed up Cornwall’s triple act with three wickets of his own and it took him just the three overs to do so. His dismissal of Ahmadi off the final delivery of the day has all but sewn up a big win for Windies unless the Afghans can conjure a miracle on the third day.

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